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Thread: Graduate programs/profiles/ranking etc

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    Graduate programs/profiles/ranking etc

    Hey all,

    As someone who is planning on applying to grad schools in the near future, one thing I have noticed is a lack of rankings and student profiles (such as are available for law/med/business schools for example). Do these exist anywhere? I was a decent student... graduated from a well regarded school with a 3.4 GPA and have a strong work history, including work with a planning agency... but am unsure if that puts me at the top/middle/bottom of the pack. This isn't meant to be in any way competitive, it would just be nice to know where I stand, especially if I decide to ask for financial aid.

    p.s. I really like the looks of UIC (partially because of my love of chicago, and partially because of the program itself)... good choice?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Is UIC a good choice? Maybe. What are you interested in studying? Graduate school is different from undergrad in that way. An undergrad program is general, whereas a graduate program should provide you learning specific to the topic(s) in which you want to become specialized. Rankings, then, may be meaningless. Why go to a top-ranked school that happens to emphasize environmental planning if you want to go into a field like economic development or transportation planning? Your best bet is to look at the research topics of the faculty. When you find a program similarly aligned to your own interests, you have found your graduate school.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
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    a very good point, thanks. Should add that I do not care about the rankings so much as it would simply be helpful to see how each school compares academically... if that distinction makes any sense.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
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    http://www.acsp.org/Guide/ACSP_13th_Edition_Guide.pdf

    This book won't give you ALL the answers, but will at least give you a base to start. I would also set up informational interviews with firms and communities that are doing what you would like to do after you finish school. They might be able to give you insight into which programs to apply to, which to avoid, and what to expect after you graduate.

    You should also use your own experience to see if the program matches up to your expectations. I was disappointed that my undergrad degree did not have enough coursework in site design or CAD projects (picked up alot of this on the job). I am planning on going back to school for an MLA with a possible second planning degree, so I will be looking for schools that have a stronger empahsis in these areas.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian
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    that looks great thanks

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    I noticed CU Denver was not in the book, nor is it in Plantizen rankings. Does the school just not want to publish its statistics out in the open?

    From what I hear it is a good school, and I just wish there was more of this kind of stuff about the school

    Nevermind, sometimes it takes another look...
    Last edited by NHPlanner; 21 Sep 2007 at 3:08 PM. Reason: double reply

  7. #7
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    It would help if they were listed in the table of contents.

  8. #8
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    Planetizen

    Have any of you guys seen the Planetizen rankings? They're quite comprehensive and rather good - imperfect but I'd say a deal more reliable than US News or THES.

    Their top ten:

    1) MIT
    2) UC Berkeley
    3) UNC Chapel Hill
    4) Harvard
    5) UPenn
    6) UCLA
    7) Cornell
    8) Rutgers (New Brunswick)
    9) University of Southern California
    10) University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
    I remember reading it over once and saw that some schools are better for some things than others. If I recall, I remember Virginia Tech being ranked rather highly in Transportation Planning and Berkeley, UPenn, and Michigan taking it away on Urban Design. Check it out.
    Last edited by NHPlanner; 31 Mar 2008 at 2:10 PM. Reason: plannetizen links removed

  9. #9
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    Is there a way to print the ACPS guide? Does anyone know? I'd like to use it to narrow my choices as I move closer to graduation.

    Thanks!

  10. #10
    Cyburbian
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    In my opinion, the Planetizen rankings are near worthless for choosing a grad school. Maybe they're good for MPO hiring managers.

    The thing I would like to see is something very simple: A listing of 'strengths' of various graduate programs; or a simple one to two paragraph description of the various aspects/options in the program.

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